Orim's Chant | Planeshift | Art by Kev Walker
3, May, 24

MH3 Resurrects Legendary Combo That Stops Your Opponent From Playing Magic!

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Article at a Glance

From what we’ve seen of Modern Horizons 3 in the scattered leaks and reveals so far, it’s very much set to provide the ‘Modern Rotation’ that many are expecting. One of the big new additions it brings is the return of the iconic Orim’s Chant/Isochron Scepter combo. Haven’t heard of it? That’s not surprising; it’s not a story Wizards of the Coast would tell you.

While Isochron Scepter has been legal in Modern for a while, it hasn’t had its notorious combo partner until now. What does that mean for the format? Will this combo prove as potent as it did back in early-2000’s Legacy? Warm up your vocal chords; today we’re getting deep into the Chant.

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The Orim’s Chant/Isochron Scepter Combo

Orims-Chant-Isochron-Scepter-Combo

Before we go any further, let’s go over the Orim’s Chant/Isochron Scepter combo itself. Isochron Scepter is a two mana Artifact that lets you Imprint an Instant that costs two or less, and recast it for two every turn. Orim’s Chant is a one mana Instant that stops your opponent from playing spells, and can be Kicked to stop them from attacking too. Throw in the fact that you can pay Kicker costs on spells cast by Isochron Scepter, and I think you see where we’re going with this.

Once set up, you can tap the Scepter and pay three to stop your opponent from playing spells or attacking, every single turn. Playing spells and attacking are fairly important for most decks in Modern. This combo, then, can effectively lock your opponent out of the game. Unless they have Instant-speed Artifact removal, it’s pretty much all over once this comes down.

This combo is quite well-known among long-time Magic players, and it actually used to be part of a viable strategy in Legacy. Aptly named Scepter Chant decks used the combo to stall for time and win via gradual grindy advantage. These days, Orim’s Chant tends to see play alone as a stall tool in combo decks in Legacy. For better or worse, Modern may well prove the perfect stage for the duo’s triumphant return.

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Potential Modern Applications

So where exactly could Scepter Chant slot into Modern? The beauty of the combo lies, ultimately, in its splashability. Scepter is colorless and Chant only needs one white mana once Imprinted, so it’s not difficult to slot the duo into any given deck. If your deck naturally plays other viable Imprint targets for Scepter, then so much the better. That can give your deck more angles of attack when you don’t find the combo. It can also allow for a different approach when that would work better.

That said, the most obvious home for the combo in the current Modern meta is probably Murktide Regent. While it typically only plays red/blue, you can easily throw in some white, and doing so will give you access to a lock that can allow your Murktide Regents and Dragon’s Rage Channelers to slowly chip away for the win. The deck also plays plenty of disruption, which can protect the combo once assembled. In addition, there are a range of other great Scepter targets in the deck, including Lightning Bolt and Counterspell.

The other place I could see the combo seeing play is in some kind of Artifact/Affinity list. These decks have less in the way of viable Scepter targets, so they’d likely have to switch up a bit. That said, the combo could passively contribute to your Artifact count while also locking down your opponent. It certainly has some potential when the archetype inevitably takes over once MH3 releases.

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Community Thoughts

Whether it sees play or not, the Orim’s Chant/Isochron Scepter combo has already had an impact on the current Magic discourse. Many are worried about the potential for non-games once the combo hits play. As cash-gz puts it in a comment on Reddit, “I remember playing against Isochron Scepter decks when Mirrodin first dropped. Chrome mox first turn scepter with Chant, counterspell, brainstorm, or fire/ice. SUPER FUN TO PLAY AGAINST.” Western_Swordfish_57 concurred, saying “Gonna show my age but I still remember a dude running roughshod over the LGS with this and Isochron Scepter. Shit was infuriating.”

On the other side of the coin, MTGGoldfish’s Saffron Olive shared a more positive story about the combo via Twitter. While he doesn’t go so far as to praise the deck, he does credit it with getting him fully invested in Magic at the beginning. “The way I learned to play Magic was bashing my super casual charge counter deck against my friend’s super-turned Scepter Chant deck.” He notes. “Finally beating it after getting hard locked out of a ton of games is what got me hooked on Magic.”

There’s a lot of truth to that. Scepter Chant is a devastating combo, but it’s also one with very clear answers, making it a great teaching tool for those just starting out. It may not be as good as it once was, but Scepter Chant will be tried out in Modern for sure, if only out of respect for its formidable legacy.

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